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Preakness Stakes News | Mugatu Exits Workout In Good Order
Mugatu (Jessica Morgan/Eclipse Sportswire/CSM)

Preakness Stakes News | Mugatu Exits Workout In Good Order

Average Joe Racing Stables LLC and Dan Wells’ Mugatu exited Saturday’s five-furlong workout in preparation for a start in next Saturday’s $2 million Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico in good order, reported trainer Jeff Engler.

“He’s perfect,” said Engler, whose Preakness contender was timed in 59.60 seconds before galloping out six furlongs in 1:13 at Belterra Park.

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Mugatu most recently finished fifth in the April 6 Blue Grass (G1) at Keeneland after closing from 10th in his third start on dirt in 12 career races. The son of Blofeld broke his maiden on Tapeta at Gulfstream Park by 3 ¼ lengths last November, then finished fourth in a stakes-quality optional claiming allowance on the main track at Gulfstream.

The Kentucky-bred colt ran four times on Tapeta at Turfway Park, including a fourth-place finish in the John Battaglia Memorial, before returning to dirt for the Blue Grass.

“I actually think he prefers the dirt. He ran his biggest number on dirt in the Blue Grass, and he ran a good race at Gulfstream,” Engler said. ”I think he ran well on the Tapeta at Turfway, as well, but I think he’s a better horse on dirt. I brought him to Belterra Park to train him on dirt specifically for that reason, and he’s just thriving on it.”

Mugatu is scheduled to ship to Pimlico Tuesday night.

Joe Bravo, who was aboard Mugatu for his impressive maiden score at Gulfstream the only time he has ridden by Engler trainee, has the call for the Preakness.

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Horsemen will be offered $7.5 million in bonus opportunities as well as two qualifiers for races at Newmarket and Deauville come Preakness Day May 18 at legendary Pimlico Race Course.

In addition to their respective purses, a $5 million bonus awaits the owner or owners of the horse who wins the $2 million Preakness (G1), the $1 million California Crown (G1) Sept. 28 at Santa Anita, and the $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) at Gulfstream Park in 2025.

Meanwhile, a $2.5 million bonus awaits the owner or owners of the horse who wins Pimlico’s $500,000 Dinner Party (G3), the $750,000 California Crown John Henry Turf (G2), and $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1).

In addition, the winner of the $100,000 Jim McKay Turf Sprint will receive an automatic entry and travel incentive to run in the July Cup Stakes (G1) at Newmarket on July 13, while the winner of the Gallorette Stakes (G3) for fillies and mares on the turf will receive an automatic entry and travel incentive to run in the Sumbe Prix Jean Romanet (G1) at Deauville Aug. 18.

The Maryland Jockey Club will also offer bonus money totaling $100,000 bonus to trainers who run a minimum of five horses in the stakes races during Preakness weekend, and another $50,000 bonus for trainers with the most points in non-stakes during the weekend.